Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon- Another PR is Always a Good Thing

The trip to D.C. for the Marine Corps Marathon was a success. Ginger, YD, and I rolled out of Boone Friday night and made our way up to PA to hang out with my parents for the night. It was great to see them, and YD was psyched to see his grandparents. Saturday morning Mom, YD, and I took a little walk to go find a little coffee to fuel the drive down to D.C. for packet pickup. Glad we got lots of coffee because packet pick up was a Zoo! The lines were insane! I was prepared for a cluster, but I have to say it exceeded anything I could have imagined! It literally took hours to work our way through the lines. I guess I should have known. I've never run a huge race like this. I typically only enter ultras, and you'll never find 30,000 people looking to toe the line at a 50 or 100 miler. There just aren't that many people in the world who are deranged enough for that, I guess. But, we took it all in stride and had a good time with it. That's really all you can do, and this weekend wasn't about just running a race. It was about honoring our fallen brothers and sisters. One of the Always Brothers MCM runners, John Straseskie, is a perfect example of our mission. John was running to honor his brother Kirk, who died trying to save the life of four of his brothers. Check out this inspiring story about Kirk here. I have to say that Kirk's story has influenced me like no other. He truly was a hero. I plan to dedicate the rest of my training this year and my run at the Rocky Raccoon 100 to Kirk. My efforts are only a drop in the ocean of honor that Kirk deserves.

My roommate from the 8th & I and Camp David days, Jeremy Kelly, met us at packet pickup and then we linked up with a bunch of the other runners at the hotel. It was great to see Geoff and Carla and meet some new Always Brothers family members at the hotel. It was great meeting Ken Hickman, JP, Gene and Mary Bryant, Kathryne, and John. They are some amazing folks. Everyone turned in early to get ready for the 5:30 am trip to the start line. On our way, we encountered another maze of lines, but it was lots of fun. We laughed and made jokes about classic Marine Corps hurry up and wait operations.

The start line was like nothing I've ever experienced or imagined. 30,000 people all lined up and ready to put themselves to the test. JK and I made our way to the 3:45 starting corral. We should have gone up to 3:15. I spent the first half of the race weaving my way through the mass of humanity that was making its way through the streets of northern VA and Georgetown. It was impossible to be anything but happy though. I was surrounded by people honoring their loved ones and my brothers. With marching bands, hilarious signs, and hordes of people cheering us on, it was truly an awe-inspiring scene.

I was treating this as just another training run. I was hoping for a marathon PR because that's just how I operate. I'm always pushing myself to get stronger. But, I wasn't really that focused on time. Two weeks ago I ran the New River 50K and PRed that course, so I wasn't sure how my body would react to another serious effort. The main goal (training wise) is to get ready for Rocky, so I didn't want to injure myself. The real goal for the day was to just have fun, honor my brothers, and encourage people whenever I could. It turned out to be a great day because I was able to accomplish all of these goals. Once I reached that halfway point, the crowed thinned out and I started getting after some serious negative splits. Check them out:

My favorite part of the course was a section on Haynes point that had the road lined with pictures of fallen heroes. It was inspiring, and it really put any perceived suffering into perspective. No matter how rough I might feel, it is nothing compared to what these men and women and their families have sacrificed. It as beautiful seeing so many people being honored.

As I rolled into the last 5 miles, I really pushed myself. I wanted to see how hard I could go as I finished up the race. It was so cool to see the Marines and spectators lining the course. My second favorite part of the course was the finish. It was all Marine. At mile 26, the course takes a sharp left turn straight up a hill to the Iwo Jima memorial. It was classic. Oh, you ran 26 miles? You're tired? Suck it up and climb this hill. Awesome!!

The finish of the race was fun. I felt great, and I was happy to beat my marathon PR by almost 10 minutes. The best part though? Seeing my Ginger and my friends at the finish. I was so proud of them. Carla, Geoff, JK, Kathryne, and Ken finished their first marathons in style. JP and Gene set new PR's. Ginger achieved a new marathon PR on a course that was not an easy one.

It was great to see everyone happy and feeling proud at the finish line. Check out Ginger and me celebrating some awesome hardware. She looks like she's at the start not the finish-bad ass!

JK finished in full-on beast mode and looked no worse for the wear.

All in all, it was a great event. We raised lots of money for Always Brothers and, most importantly, we honored some heroes. I'm glad we have some new members of the Always Brothers family. I'm looking forward to our next event in Ohio this Memorial Day. Hit me up if you are interested in joining this great cause. We will have relay teams for the 100 mile run in Ohio. Each team will honor a hero. We will also have some folks who will attempt the full 100. It won't be a race, though. It's about staying together and honoring those who make it possible for us to live the good life.

This week, I've been getting lots of work done at the office and keeping the training rolling. Rocky Raccoon, I'm coming for you!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Always nice to PR on a Training Run- New River 50K

The last few weeks have been really busy at work, but I've been able to maintain my efforts at preparing to chase that Raccoon in Texas this February. I've been feeling strong on daily runs, and I've been enjoying some time on the trails most every day. Yellow Dog has been feel scrappy with the advent of the cool fall weather, so I've been letting him come along on some shorter runs. He is definitely over the distance running thing. At mile 5 he pretty much turns into a parachute dragging behind me. He'll tolerate another mile or so after that, but he's a mile 5 dog these days. And, that's OK by me. I'll happily take 10 more years of the occasional short run with him over a couple of years on long runs.

Last weekend I drove up to Fries, VA to do the New River Trail 50K. It was a fantastic race. The RD (Annette Bednosky) is a bad ass runner and she knows how to put on a solid race. The volunteers were great, the aid stations were well-stocked, and the vibe was awesome. There was a place to park the truck and crash within sight of the Start/Finish and the pre-race communication was top-notch. I drove up after a work function Friday night, rolled into the camp spot around 1 am, climbed in the back of the mobile dog house, and crashed out. Yellow Dog's bed is actually quite comfortable, and I had a great night's sleep. One of my favorite parts of the event is the 8 am start time. There is nothing like being able to wake up at 7:15, eat, get dressed, lace 'em up, and toe the line. It's way more civilized than having to get up at 2 am and start running at 4 am.

The first thing I noticed at the start line was that it wasn't your normal ultra crowd. I was surrounded by a bunch of super-skinnies. There weren't many diesels there looking to suffer for 6-7 hours. Local strongman and Masters' bad ass Doug Blackford pointed out that this race is a lot like a track meet. It was. The field was full of strong marathon runners looking for a Boston Qualifying Time (They have an official marathon split) and a 50K first time or PR. Lucky for me, I never go to a race to race anyone but myself. I'm no speed demon. I'm a grinder who just loves doing long distance. I was, however, looking for my own 50K PR. This race is the course to get one. The old course record was like 3:25 and I think it might have gotten crushed Saturday by someone. Not me though. After taking it on the chin in Leadville, I was hoping to turn this training run into a little redemption, and I was able to do just that. 4:55:58. I beat my best 50K time by 30 minutes. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with that.

I felt strong from the start.  I didn't go out of the gate all crazy though. I like to chat with folks and get into a nice rhythm. As it turns out, Jarheads are everywhere and I spent the first 5 miles chatting with a retired CH53E pilot and his wife who was also a Marine officer. We had a good time telling stories and laughing. When they stopped at the first aid station, I kicked into cruising mode, and got about the business of working towards my goal. One really interesting thing about this race is that it's basically flat. It's railroad grade, so unlike most ultras there is never an excuse to walk. Normally you have some big climbs that you power hike. Not this race. This race is all about keeping the legs churning. No walking needed. It's been a while since I did 31 miles without walking a step, and it felt great. I think it was a great warm up for the Marine Corps Marathon next week. Since that's only 26.2 and it's all road, there will be no walking. Glad I got into shorter/flatter race mode a little early. 

All in all, it was a great day. I got a nasty little blood blister on my toe because I didn't want to stop and clean some pebbles out of my Hokas. No biggie though. It has healed up quickly and won't be a problem. I was happy to get home that afternoon, hang out with Ginger, YD, Mookie, and some friends  (Ash and Lambeth) who were in town visiting. We went for a nice, short hike Sunday and then did a little sightseeing around Linville. It was really nice to hang out, relax, and chill with good friends after the race. I was happy to reach my goal, get a PR, and have a fun day. It was a great confidence builder in the build up to Rocky Raccoon. I took it easy Monday and took Tuesday off. I was back to my normal run today and felt strong. 

I'm looking forward to the trip to DC with the Always Brothers MCM runners next week. It will be so much fun to see Ginger rock out the marathon and see Geoff and Carla reach their marathon goal. Everyone has been training so hard, and I'm excited to see them have a great race day. The fact that we'll be honoring my brothers and raising a little money for Always Brothers is pretty amazing bit of icing on the cake. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You hear that, Rocky? Raccoon hunting season is in full swing.

Week two of chasing the Raccoon was a pretty good one. I managed to work in four decent runs during the week-- even though work is a bit crazy right now. I wanted to stack up another decent week to build off last week's fun and games, so I had use up a lot of the weekend on the trail. Luckily, Ginger needed to do her MCM training long run on Saturday. That meant we got to spend the day together over in Damascus checking out the sights on the VA Creeper Trail. The plan was to do 16 together and then I'd tack on an extra four at  the end. Well, my math skills are not exactly, shall we say, strong. In fact, my math game is not tight at all. About a half mile from the turnaround (we were doing an out and back with a water jug stashed at mile 5), Ginger stepped off the trail for a second. I think she had to tie her shoe, so I said I'll keep going and we'll catch up at the flip flop. Well, I'm dumb and went a mile or so up the trail before I realized that the halfway point was 8 not 9. Duh, that meant, I had to haul ass to try to catch her before the she finished. I didn't. She was crushing it. She took 4 minutes off her time from when we last ran that 16 mile section. I was pushing it, and still couldn't catch her. Check out these splits:

It was a great workout though. I was crushed by the last two miles. First time in awhile I've done a run and really cracked myself. All in all, it was a great day. Sunshine, good times, a nice 20, and Ginger had a killer MCM training day.

I finished off the week by joining Carla and Geoff for their 13 miler at Moses Cone. I love those trails. It was another pretty day, and fall is coming quickly here in Boone. Running in the cool weather, without crazy humidity made for a great week. I ended up logging about 60 miles. I'm proud of all of the Always Brothers Marine Corps Marathon runner. Everyone has been killing it in training, and I think we'll have a great time in DC in October. Here are my totals for the week of MCM/Rocky training.

Not too bad for this early in Raccoon Hunting season. I'll back it off for the next two weeks. I'd like to do some hiking and let my legs recover a bit before I do my final prep for the New River 50k and Marine Corps Marathon in October. Those races are two weeks apart, so that'll make for a perfect beginning to the real build up for Rocky.

I'm pretty pleased with how my legs have been feeling after Leadville. I've been running stronger than I was before I went out there, and I'm feeling good about the possibility of a PR at Rocky in February. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Raccoon Hunting: Week 1

I enjoyed a couple of chill weeks since I got back from Leadville. I got back into the swing of things at work, processed the trip, and weighed my options for my next racing goals. I promised myself I would wait a couple of weeks before deciding what I'd do next. I kinda did that. I decided to run the New River 50K (Oct 12th) just because the race looks fun and the distance is a reasonable one that I could do just with normal running as I'm prepping for the Marine Corps Marathon with the Always Brothers team that we put together. I've enjoyed joining Ginger for her training runs, and I've been running with Carla and Geoff as they hit their long runs in their training. It's been fun to run with all of them and see how psyched they are with the progress they are each making. Ginger has been running really strong and having a good time. I'm so impressed with how she's taken a great approach to recovering from her injury last winter. I love running with her and enjoying the time on the trail with her. Carla and Geoff have really been an inspiration. Each week, I've joined them for their distance PRs and they have been doing a great job.

Last week, my Raccoon Hunting buddy Jim Cansler called and said he wanted to take another shot at the Rocky Raccoon 100. It was such a great weekend last year, that I couldn't say no. We will camp at the park, watch the superbowl and celebrate my birthday after. Ginger said she'd be happy to crew me and hopefully pace me for a few legs, so that was all the motivation I needed. I pulled the trigger and signed up. That means, that I have kicked off the latest 100 training cycle. I think Rocky is just what I need after Pbville. It'll be great to run a course I know and take a stab at a new 100 PR time. If nothing else, it'll set me up with a good fall/winter of training in case Pbville ends up being a goal for next summer. And, it'll just be an awesome trip.

I have felt really strong on every run since I recovered from Leadville. This week, I hit three strong 7 milers on Mon, Tues, and Wed. I took Thursday off, and did Ginger's long run with her this week. She did great and we had a nice average pace (9:26) for 16 miles- complete with negative splits for the second half. She's a beast! I took saturday off and ran with Geoff and Carla today. I ended up hitting 19 in 2:54 with some serious negative splits on the last 9 miles or so. I was psyched to finish with 8:42, 8:41, and 8:20 miles at the end. I felt great, and think the first week back went great. Here are the weekly totals.

It was a great week overall. I got to do some good runs, had a good week of classes, and got some cool news when I found out that a story on linked to my blog. I'm a sports junkie, and getting a link from the mothership is pretty much the highlight of my blogging career.

I've still been using the Hoka Stinson Evo Tarmacs for my smooth trail runs, but I've been looking for a trail shoe for tech trails to replace the La Sportiva Wildcats I've been wearing for years. The toe box is just too narrow now that my feet have mutated. I had been using the Hoka Stinson Evos, but I got some blisters at Leadville because that shoe just doesn't fit my foot quite right. I like the New Balance Leadvilles I had been wearing, but the sole just isn't grabby enough to be my go to tech trail shoe. If you got suggestions, send them my way. I'm a forefoot striker and I like a low drop, neutral shoe. I've been thinking Altras but I tried on a pair and I'm not sure the toe box is actually tall enough. It's plenty wide, but a little too low. Maybe I just need to try another size/model. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Race Across the Sky-- Well, half of the sky for me... this year anyway...

There really are not too many ways to say it. I got a beat down in Leadville this weekend. No excuses. I don't make 'em. I just didn't have it. I'm not used to setting a goal and falling short, so it certainly was a little tough to take. That being said, I don't feel like my race was a failure. A wise man once told me that as long as you learn from something it's not a mistake. And, I believe that about falling short of a goal. Sure, I'd much rather be telling the story of how I ate some doughnuts Sunday morning using my giant, baller, Pbville sub-25 finisher's buckle as a plate. Hell yeah I would. But, I'm not. The Reaper got me at Hopeless. I didn't make the time cut- got sent home. Well, sent back down the mountain to Twin Lakes, actually. But, I learned from it. I loved it. I reveled in the suffering and the satisfaction of knowing I laid myself bare on that course. I smiled at the beating I took. I'm pretty sure my brothers would be proud of how I represented them out there. I know Ginger, Lois, and the rest of my friends there saw that I gave everything I had, and they were awesome in supporting me. So, here's the story of the day. 

I started off with some excellent words of motivation in my head. Ginger put together a little book for me, much like the one Star made for Darris before Badwater, filled with messages from my friends. Little things, like a reminder to Harden the Fuck Up from Paul Gilman (a little taste of my own medicine there), a solid #chooseyourfriendsbetter from Kramer, and some very thoughtful advice from Brian O'Neill. O'Neill is my firefighter, Marine, literary genius, all around bad ass buddy from the Always Brothers family. He gave me a battle cry of sorts to carry with me for the day: Molon Labe, which basically means Come and Take. This was, reportedly, the reply King Leonidas gave to the Persians when they demanded the Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. As we left the hotel at 3:30 am Saturday morning, I grabbed a sharpie and scrawled this mantra on my hand. 

The scene at the starting line was wild. 800 or so folks lined up and ready to attempt the feat of racing across the sky. At 4 am the gun (literally- no sissy starter pistol) went off and we began shuffling down 6th street towards Turquoise Lake. The first 13 miles ticked off uneventfully. I felt pretty good and made sure I didn't go out too fast. I was still unsure of how starting a race at 10,200 feet was going to feel. When we hit the single track around the lake, I settled in with a group moving a little slower than my planned pace. I was OK with that. I had figured out by mile 7 that going sub 25 was not really a realistic goal for me this year. I just couldn't maintain that pace without my heart rate going too high. No worries, though. I felt good at a slightly slower pace and wanted to make sure I followed the advice I'd been given: Be patient. The second half of the race can't happen if the first half kills you. I made it to May Queen (mile 13.2) feeling pretty good and was happy to see Ginger and Lois, who had everything I needed and quickly got me moving again. 

The climb away from May Queen up Hagerman Pass was much burlier than I had anticipated. The elevation was hurting me more than I thought it would. I felt slow and out of shape. But, I told the mountains to Come and Take and chatted with my fellow runners with a smile on my face. Silently suffering. The views were unreal. We climbed a thousand feet or so and looked back down that lake. All I could think was, "Damn, this place is gorgeous!"I really do love Leadville. The mountains are surreal. 

After the climb to the top of the pass, I careened my way down the Powerline to the aid station at Outward Bound (mile 23ish). Feeling a little rough from the climb, I was a little shaken by the fact that I was so far behind my goal pace and only an hour ahead of the cut off. I was going as fast as I could without blowing up. But, I just kept pushing. I reminded myself to enjoy the day- to enjoy the view. I wanted to take in the scene and remember that this was, as my "sister" Star said, "My Leadville Day" when she alluded to the St. Crispin's day speech from Henry V. I knew it didn't matter what pace I held. The only thing that mattered was that I held the best pace I could. So I did. Through the blazing sun I shuffled along. 

I can't say I really enjoyed the section between Outward Bound and HalfPipe. It was mostly road, and mostly exposed. I'm a trail runner. The scenery was nice, but were WAY too many cars on the road and it was HOT. But, I reminded myself that this was an Ultra and not a day on the beach. If it was easy, everyone would be here. If it was easy, my friends would not fly across the country to crew/pace me. It was easy, my friends would not wax poetic about St. Crispin or King Leonidas. If it was easy, I wouldn't be here because I wouldn't like it. I am a Marine, and I don't like things to be easy. So, I shuffled on. Telling myself to HTFU, drink water, and telling the damn course: Molon Labe. 

I rolled into  the Treeline crew station feeling very bad. I was hot, dizzy, and worried. I had been doing a run/walk combo for a few miles now. I was trying to follow the advice of not going out too fast, and I was losing way too much time. I was less than 45 minutes ahead of the cutoff. "WTF?! How is the happening," I asked myself. I trained my ass off for this, and couldn't understand why I was so slow. But, I perked up a bit when I saw Ginger and Lois. They gave me some much needed fluid, food, and sunscreen. I continued on towards Halfpipe feeling better. 

I got back into a running rhythm for a while, rolled through Halfpipe and started the climb towards the Mt. Elbert water station. Then, the wheels came off. I ate a Cheer Pack and promptly puked. "Shit," I thought, "these things ALWAYS work." Not this time. I was at mile 31 and life was NOT good. I walked for a while, got my stomach settled and distracted myself by talking to my fellow pilgrims on the road to pay homage at Hope Pass. The climb was rough. It seemed to last forever, but I finally hit the water station and began the decent to Twin Lakes. 

And, here the Persian Army of the Pbville course, took a little piece of me. It took the piece that mattered most for my race. I could not run the decent. Even though it was downhill, I would puke every time I tried to run. I couldn't understand it. I was hydrated. I had been eating well for the first 25 miles. I had settled my stomach after the mile 31 incident, but now at mile 37 or so, I was puking every time I tried to run. I needed to make up time. I'm usually a fast descender. I can make up time on a downhill without getting out of control. Not today. To make matters worse, walking down the hill was making my left knee feel like a knife was stuck in it. Not good. I wanted to quit. It's hard to admit that. But, I did want that more than anything-- for a minute. But, I knew that wasn't what I really wanted. What I really wanted was to fight these metaphorical Persians to the end. So I did. I kept pushing on, and I kept trying to have fun in the process. I chatted with folks who were also suffering on the decent and even scored a cold Coors as I approached Twin Lakes from a nice couple who'd come out to watch the carnage. 

"A Coors?! How can you drink a beer in the middle of a 100 miler?!" you ask- with a disapproving look. Yes, A Coors. I don't know why, but it made perfect sense to me. I wanted a beer. I was in a dark place and a beer seemed like a good flashlight. It was. I only drank half of it, and I started feeling better. I wish you could see the looks people were giving me as I rolled into the aid station at Twin Lakes with a water bottle in one hand and a beer in the other. Priceless. 

I was feeling better, but I knew time was not on my side. I told Ginger I was in trouble. I was only 15 minutes ahead of the cutoff entering Twin Lakes. I told her my knee was hurting and I thought I was done. She reminded me that I still had 15 minutes, and I might start feeling better soon. So, I changed my shoes, grabbed my coat in case weather came while I was on the Pass, and headed towards the climb at Mt Hope. 

I did feel better. I started running and the nausea was gone. My knee pain- gone. Wow, Coors is the wonder drug! The river crossing was refreshing and I was buoyed by the fact that I'd made it out of Twin Lakes before the leaders passed me on their way back to town. "Hell," I thought, "they are only 19 miles ahead of me. That ain't bad, really." And it isn't. I have no illusions about how these races go. I'm not there racing anyone else. I race myself and the course. And that race was going great again. 

Until the climb began. Mt. Hope punched me square in the jaw. Check out the elevation profile of the course here (remember the starting point is 10,152 feet): 

The last spike, that's the climb to Hope Pass. And this is where the taking happened. I promised myself I would tackle the trouble that came my way with a cheerful and resolute heart. I promised myself I'd wear the blackened eyes the course would give me with a smile and bounce higher every time I got knocked down. I did the best I could. The climb punched, and I absorbed. I could hardly breathe and each step seemed oddly difficult. The grade seemed way steeper than it really was. I knew the clock was ticking, but I soldiered on. I kept thinking, "If I can get to the Pass in time, I can make it to Winfield before the 6 pm cut no problem. It'll be downhill and I can run without puking now. But, it wasn't to be. I made it a half mile from the Hopeless Aid Station, and at mile 43.5 I was told by a course volunteer to turn back. I had missed the 4:15 cut off for Hopeless. My race was over. Well, I still had to descend the pass. I still had to go 4.5 miles to get back to Twin Lakes. 

It was brutal. I honestly don't remember the last time I set a goal and didn't make it like this. I mean, I've run races slower that I'd hoped, I'd had articles rejected at work, but I have never been cut from a race. I'd never let the metaphorical Persians Come and Take. I had a couple of hours to think about this as I slowly trudged back to Twin Lakes. And here's what I decided. 

They can still Molon Labe. Those bastards didn't really take anything from me. While I went to Leadville with the goal of a sub 25 finish (or at least a finish), I didn't fail. Sure, I didn't reach my race goal. But, that isn't the real reason I run. I run because it love it. I run because it lets me challenge myself- let's me find the ragged edge and look over it without any real danger. It also lets me honor my fallen brothers. Mostly importantly, it lets me see new places, and share them with people I love. Well, I did every bit of that at Leadville. I fought until the clock said I could fight no more, and I loved it all. 

Thanks to Ginger, Lois, Reeve, and Kramer for coming to support me. Thanks to all of my friends and family who sent me good vibes and words of encouragement. Now it's time to get on a place (if we don't miss this one), and go home. I miss my Yellow Buddy and Mookie. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And once more into the breach we go...

So, here it is. About six months ago today, as I was recovering from the Rocky Raccoon 100, I pulled the trigger on Leadville. I've enjoyed every second of my training for this run-- even the seconds that sometimes felt like work-- especially the seconds that forced me to reach deep inside to keep moving forward. All the hay is officially in the barn. Ginger and I did nice 5 miles in Frisco, Colorado this morning  (9,100 feet), and I felt great! The legs are ready and the lungs are willing.

And now, it's time for the payoff. The prize. Race day. I'm am ready. I have put the time in. I have put the miles in, and I'm ready to enjoy some time on the mountain. It'll be hard. I will go to a dark place, but I will revel in the ability to challenge myself. To feel that rush of excitement when you know you are doing something difficult. And when it gets hard, I'll have lots to help me find my way out of the pain cave. First, I'll remember all the support and understanding that Ginger has given me. She has been great about indulging my love of going on long runs. She has always made me feel good about going out for a run. Second, I'll have the support of the rest of my family and friends who encouraged me and continue to encourage me. Reeve and Kramer are coming halfway across the country to pace me. I gotta put on a show! Third, I'll have the support of my brothers. My Always Brothers family who motivate me to push myself. Most notably, I'll have the memory of my boy Mike Boelk turning himself inside out last weekend as he ran 100 Miles in Seattle for Always Brothers. He and Chris Pratt ran all 100 miles in a little over 27 hours, and it was a thing of beauty. I have never seen someone willing to suffer as hard as Mike did. I have also never seen a group of men and women come together to support a goal like I did last weekend. I watched Dan push himself to unspeakable places to honor our cause. Countless people (I'm looking at you Tami and Barbara) ran more than twice their PR distances. Dan, Paul, Allen, Jim, Tami, Bob, and so many others (many of whom we'd never met) were there every step of the way to support Mike, Chris, and all the runners as we made out way to the finish. My Always Brothers family will be with me this weekend. I'll also be running for Tyler, Dustin and all of his Lima Co brothers, and all those who can't. So, yes, Leadville is for me, but it is also my way of honoring those who make it possible for us to seek out challenges like Leadville.

So with apologies to Edmund Vance Cooke, I allude to and borrow some of his fine words that Brian O'Neill shared with us in Ohio. I look forward to Saturday morning when I head out to tackle that trouble that I've brought my way. When it beats me to the earth, I vow to come up with a smile on my face until I reach the end. I will battle my best and be proud of any blackened eye that the mountains deal me. I will play my part in the world and give everything I have. Then, I will find some more to give. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

One week closer

Another week closer to the big trip to the left coast for the Always Brothers 100 Miles for One Mind (I'll be supporting the boys as a pacer this year). That also means another week closer to flying from Seattle to Denver for the Pbville 100.

This week was another solid effort. I focused a little more on climbing and descending and a little less on mileage (as planned). I still worked in some decent mileage days with decent elevation gain. The totals for the week are nothing eye popping, but they make a lot of sense to me. I didn't want to push too hard after last week, but it ain't time to taper (insert wry smile here) yet.

I felt a little tired the Monday and Tuesday, but bounced back and started feeling strong by Wednesday, which seems about right given last week's totals. The best news was basically zero soreness. The normal ankle/foot pain I have experienced with a high volume of training hasn't been an issue this time around. I attribute that to a smart, steady build up, and to mixing up shoes between the NB Leadville and the Hoka One One Stinson Evo. I also spent a little time this week experimenting with Endurolyte Fizz tabs in my water bottle to take on a good flow of electrolytes without having to drink gatorade all the time. So far so good. I'll keep testing them out next week too. I wouldn't want to invite some last minute stomach problems.

I also had some good company on a few runs this week. Carla and Geoff, who are training for the Marine Corps Marathon, did 12 of my 17 with me yesterday morning in a pretty epic rain storm at Moses Cone. It was nice to have company in some nasty weather. Misery does love company. 12 was the long run so far in Carla & Geoff's training program and they are looking strong. Don't tell them, but they actually went 12.6. Hey, bonus mileage right? Anyway, the sun came out for the first time in a while today so Ginger and I knocked out some miles on Rich Mtn from Trout Lake. It was Ginger's longest run in her Marathon training program, and she rocked it out. So glad to have her back out on the trails having fun.